Court Case File Search Request
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For this research service, Library Staff will search for one court case file in the specified court (criminal, civil, or probate) and jurisdiction (county or State Supreme/Appellate court).
Turnaround: Research is usually completed and sent within 60 business days.
About This Research Service: Please provide as much information as possible about the case file in question to help make the search successful. Finding a case file without knowing the file number can be difficult and time consuming, so requests lacking a specific file number will cost $20.00 more.
The majority of the county District Court civil and criminal case files usually date from the first year of the county’s establishment until approximately 1950; the ending dates for files held by MNHS vary for each county. Court case file holdings at the Minnesota Historical Society can be found in the library’s online catalog. Search by the name of the county plus the terms “district court” or "probate court" (e.g. Anoka County District Court).
Cases heard in District Court can be appealed up to the Court of Appeals/State Supreme Court, but the original and appeal case files are separate records and they must be requested separately if you would like to get both.
Case files not available from MNHS should be available from the respective county court. If a file is requested which is not in our collections, the order will be cancelled with no charge.Civil Case Files:
- Include divorces, adoptions, monetary and property disputes, and other non-criminal matters
- Minnesota adoption files are sealed for 100 years from the date of the adoption and cannot be opened early without a court order. A court form can be printed, completed and sent to the appropriate county District court to request to have access to a sealed or confidential file.
- Naturalization records are civil court documents pertaining to an immigrant applying for citizenship, but they are not case files. Request a Naturalization Record
Probate Case Files:
- Include estate and some guardianship matters, including most non-criminal commitments to state institutions
- MNHS holds probate case files for about 20% of the counties of Minnesota; the other counties' records are still held by those counties.
- Although probate case files generally include the original wills, MNHS holds separate official copies of the wills from all counties in Will Books. Request a Will Book Record
Criminal Case Files:
- Include all types of criminal cases
- Juvenile criminal case files are generally sealed and cannot be ordered through this research service.
- Convicted criminals who served sentences at one of the state correctional institutions will have a case file and/or commitment papers from that institution in addition to their court file. Request Prison Records.
Note: The Minnesota Historical Society Library is not engaged in the practice of law. Any materials purchased or otherwise provided in any way by the Library do not constitute legal opinion or legal advice. The Library assumes no liability for errors or omissions, and is not responsible in any manner for direct, indirect, special, incidental, consequential, or punitive damages, however caused, arising out of the use of materials requested.For More Information: